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Joseph, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5299
Experience:  Extensive experience representing employees and management
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Forced Day Off for Film Shoot in CAMy employer contracted

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Forced Day Off for Film Shoot in CA --  My employer contracted to use their retail store as a film location for big budget feature film. The store was closed for business for two days during filming. The store was generously compensated by the film company by factoring what the store made on it's "best day ever" plus several thousand dollars above that for each day it was closed. All non-exempt store employees were forced to take these two days off without pay while exempt employees were paid these days. I've been able to find content online regarding office closures during a crisis where the business was losing money but no legal or moral guidelines for when the business is making far more money than if it had been open. We are average paid hourly retail employees for which this "furlough" is a hardship. As to be expected, all effected employees are suffering financially and morale has collapsed. Is this a legal or moral issue? Do film companies normally provide a stipend in the filming contracts for loss of employment? Should store owners have negotiated employee pay into the contract? This will most likely happen again in the future, does anyone have any advice? Location is Los Angeles CA

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer,

My name isXXXXX am a licensed attorney, and my goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

I'm afraid that this is moral issue rather than a legal one. Employers or film companies are not under any legal obligation to provide compensation to hourly employees when they are not working, whether that is due to the employer's decisions to shut the business down for filming or due to economic circumstances outside the employer's control causing the business to be shut down.

The employer is obligated to pay non-exempt employees their salaries for very week in which they perform ANY work, which is why they received compensation for days in which they performed no work, but the hourly employees did not. While this is extremely unfair and immoral, it is unfortunately illegal.

I'm also afraid that film companies hardly ever (if at all) include compensation for employees of a particular location in their contracts. They, like any other business, wants to keep their costs down, and will not offer money that the location doesn't require. Of course, your employer could take it upon itself to offer some voluntary compensation for you and other hourly employees who are unable to work during this time, but I'm afraid that neither your employer or the film company are under any legal obligation to do so.

I agree that it is something that morally and ethically should be negotiated into contracts, but, unfortunately, the current status of the law doesn't require it.

I hope the above information is helpful, although I realize it is not what you wanted to hear. I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX had better news to give you, but I hope you appreciate an honest and direct answer to your question. It would be unprofessional of me and unfair to you to provide you with anything less.

Please let me know if you have any follow up or clarifying questions as I want to ensure that you are completely satisfied with my service.
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Thanks and best of luck!


Joseph and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you

Just wanted to check in to see if you had any follow up or clarifying questions regarding the above information.

If not, PLEASE remember to rate my answer positively so I get credit for my work!

Thanks and best of luck!

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